Havre Daily News - News you can use

Celebrating history: Election 1914 with suffrage, bonds and social news


November 7, 2014

Courtesy photo

This panoramic picture of downtown Havre was taken in 1915. The top of the McIntyre Opera House's façade can be seen through the "Havre Commercial Company" sign. To the right is the old steam heating plant.

It was election time in 1914. Elected officials were chosen, and some ballot issues were also voted on. Two are of particular interest.

The first issue had statewide impact-the passage of women's suffrage in Montana. We were not the first state to grant most women the right to vote. That honor goes to Wyoming in 1890, but we certainly were among the Western states leading the charge.

The measure passed 53 percent for and 47 percent against. However, it seems that Hill County was at best lukewarm on the idea. It won by a whopping 28 votes. That's right, 28. The tally was 1,018 for and 991 against, with a total of 2009 votes cast for a margin of 51 percent and 49 percent, respectively.

Also, examining the Havre newspapers would prove a challenge to find much mention on the issue. In The Havre Plaindealer's Nov. 7, 1914, issue, the following sentence was included with all election news coverage, stating:

From the few reports at hand, however, it would appear that the suffrage amendment has carried in this county by a small margin.

The Havre Promoter simply called it "constitutional amendment," so unless one knows what they are looking at, it could easily be overlooked. Additionally, in the Nov. 14, 1914, issue of The Hill County Democrat, owner and editor J. K. Bramble saw to it that a short entry was added in the Editorial section:

And now the dear little things can vote in Montana.

Well, now.

As stated in an earlier column, not all women were given the right to vote. Native Americans, both men and women, were not allowed to vote until 1924 with the passage of the Indian Citizenship Act, and even then it wasn't until well into the 1930s that our state and nation's first citizens were fully franchised.

The second issue of local interest was the courthouse bond. At the time of printing, the ballots had not yet been canvassed and there was confusion as to whether or not it passed. This paragraph is found in the aforementioned Plaindealer issue:

Though no official reports are at hand on the matter, it is generally believed that the proposal to issue $125,000 bonds for the building of a court house and jail in Hill county, was lost by a heavy vote.

This, however, may prove incorrect when the official count of votes is made.

In other news, four people were burned lighting cook stoves; three proved fatal. The Milk River Valley Educational Association was meeting in Havre, the Richards & Pringle Minstrels filled the Orpheum Theatre, and various church services were announced.

In social news, three Halloween parties for children were described in detail in the newly named "The Social Whirl," formerly known as "Society." Here is one such party:

A very fantastic Hallowe'en affair was given by Margaret Mary and Lawrence Devlin, at the home of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. L. K. Devlin, on Third avenue. The Devlin home was ornamented with horrifying witches, black cats, and shadowy figures. The evening was spent in playing various Hallowe'en games, which caused no end of merriment for the children. At a late hour the guests were invited to the dining room, where a dainty Hallowe'en lunch was served.The little friends invited were Janet MacKenzie, Hazel Dewar, Alice Webber, Ethel Cooley Carruth, Ester Skylstead and Phillip, Winston and Leo Doyle, Porter Lewis and William Troy.

And, in other social pages news:

Of Local Interest

The work of piping the McIntyre opera house, now occupied by the Lyric theatre, for steam heating, was completed last night, and the gratitude of Havre people will go out in big measure to manager Skaar for his enterprise. For many winters Havre folks have body-shook and teeth-chattered through entertainments of various kinds in the historic old landmark, but from this time on, solid comfort will take the place of previous misery.

The McIntyre Opera House was located on the northeast corner of 2nd Street and 3rd Avenue, where Wells Fargo Bank is today. Back then, the steam plant was just a stone's throw to the east.


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